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Demopolis eyes revised industrial annexation

The Demopolis City Council discussed re-initiating the process to annex property at the Airport Industrial Park.

The property to be annexed includes an area designated as an Advantage Site with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. The Advantage Site program is a voluntary industrial site preparedness program designed  to make sites more competitive for companies considering a location in Alabama.

A previous effort to annex the property was stopped when owners of the property that is currently home to Two Rivers Lumber said they were not notified of the annexation. The new annexation plan does not include the lumber mill.

Mayor John Laney said he feels the property should be annexed as soon as possible so the city will benefit from any future industry that may locate there.

“If we are going to be investing (in the property), we shouldn’t be doing that without being able to collect property tax for the city,” Laney said. “We never know when an opportunity is going to present itself.”

The council did not vote on the annexation, but Laney asked the members to review the information so the process may move forward.

The council also discussed a proposal by Paul Sager for the city to host a two-day boat race in June. Sager approached the council during a March meeting, but was asked to return with more information.

Members of the council indicated that timing was a concern and that making sure the city and the river was properly prepared for such an event by June may not be feasible.

The city’s budget was another concern as race organizers was asking for funding  in advance.

“I love the idea of it, but I’m worried about the timing,” said Councilman Harris Nelson.  “We should speak with the Chamber of Commerce and Park and Recreation Department to see if its something they can  handle for next year. If we host this type of event, we would want people to come back and make sure it is sustainable.”

The council indicated that funding for the event in 2020 might be worked into next budget.

Other items discussed by the council included:

• Councilman Bill Meador reported that other members have received a copy of a proposed golf cart ordinance for review.

• Councilman Charles Jones reported that the Demopolis Water Works has discussed the demoliton of the water tower near the Demopolis City Landing and Civic Center. The Marengo County Historical Society has requested the structure be restored instead. No action was taken.

• Victoria Coleman was nominated and approved to serve on the city’s Cemetery Board.

• Denice Rembert of Alethia House addressed the council to report that organization, along with the Demopolis Police Department, would host a prescription drug take-back program at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Approved a public assembly request for Rooster Day, which is Saturday, April  13.

• Approved to move the May 3 council meeting from 5:15 p.m. to 9 a.m.

• During public comments, David McCants said the city’s approval of lowering the speed limit from 45 miles per hour to 30 on Bell Grayson Road had been changed back. Laney said the city should have passed an ordinance for the change, since it is a county road. The council requested the city attorney draw up the ordinance.

• Harold Park also addressed the council  voicing concerns about criminal activity. “We are seeing reports of break-ins in areas where we did not have problems in years past,” he said.

Park added that utilizing police officers for school security may be better served patrolling the city instead. He also said nothing has been done regarding previous requests to better control speeding on Walnut Avenue. “The police department needs more patrolmen. I ask that you look at the budgets to see if any cuts can be made and put more people on the force,” he said.

The next council meeting will be Thursday, April 18, 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall. A work session begins one hour prior the meeting.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, April 10 issue of the Demopolis Times.)